Some Important Information About Dangerous Goods Shipments

Posted on Jan 9

A container vessel sailing from Nhava Sheva to Port Klang recently had to be diverted after a fire broke out, caused by self-ignition from lithium batteries loaded in a container that were incorrectly declared as “Spare Parts and Accessories”.

The damage was apparently contained to the incorrectly declared container and several containers that were loaded around it, it is not yet known if further damage was caused to the vessel. The carrier might declare General Average to recover all losses caused by the fire.

This incident highlights again the need for shippers to follow the established guidelines for cargo declarations, especially on dangerous goods.

Ocean carriers have been strengthening their policies regarding dangerous goods by moving towards a zero-tolerance policy regarding mistakes involving dangerous goods.
And they have backed this up with huge monetary penalties, implementing penalties for the omission, concealment, or misdeclaration of dangerous goods of up to $35,000.00 per container.

V. Alexander & Co., Inc. obtains all dangerous goods information from US shippers and provides those details to the ocean carriers on the shipper’s behalf.

We urge shippers of dangerous goods to ensure that all required information is declared up front when requesting rates and/or bookings, and that all IMO Dangerous Goods Declarations are filled out completely and accurately as per the national and international regulations.

We also recommend to discuss this topic with your vendors that arrange shipments to the US or other countries for you as incidents like the one mentioned above can create heavy delays in your supply chain and, of course, extremely high additional cost that can impact your vendor’s financial stability and potentially the cost of future goods.
If you have any questions about the required procedures, please contact your customer service representative.

For specific information about this topic you can also contact our Director of Supply Chain Security and Export Compliance, Glenn Shearron ( or our Ocean Export Manager, Melanie McCoy (

Thank you for your attention to this very important matter.